How L.A.’s Housing Crisis Impacts Our Region’s Largest Employers

Mary Leslie
President, Los Angeles Business Council
04/11/2017 07:52 pm ET Updated Apr 11, 2017

California’s skyrocketing housing costs has made it one of the most expensive places to live in the nation, affecting virtually everyone from young people in their first jobs, to families looking to purchase their first homes.

A new survey, The Affordable Housing Crisis in Los Angeles: An Employer Perspective, takes a fresh look at this entrenched problem. Released today, the survey was led by Professor Raphael Bostic, a highly-respected USC professor and the newly appointed head of the Atlanta Federal Reserve. Bostic’s team surveyed 14 major L.A. employers accounting for nearly 200,000 jobs in key sectors including utilities, healthcare, education, government, engineering and finance. His survey focused on how the high cost of housing in the region has affected their ability to attract and retain workers.

Bostic found broad consensus that the general cost of living adversely affected employees and influenced how employers did business. Almost 60% of respondents agreed that the general cost of living is a challenge for retaining employees.

By looking at housing from an employer perspective, Bostic and our roundtable experts propose several solutions to combat this problem:

  • Employer sponsorship of affordable housing projects for their employees, similar to the LAUSD project completed in 2016.
  • Increasing housing density near transit hubs.
  • Designing buildings with the ability to adjust for future growth and density needs, such as developing parking that can later be converted into housing units.
  • Creating an inventory of single-story buildings, such as grocery stores and public markets, that can utilize airspace to develop affordable housing.

Our city is home to one of the most vibrant, innovative economies in the world. For years, we have been leaders in aerospace, healthcare, and the entertainment industry. That’s why it’s so discouraging to see we may be scaring away the next generation of visionaries and business leaders by our city’s increasingly astronomical living expenses.

We at the LABC pride ourselves on our ability to use the latest research to inform our policy goals and strategic initiatives. By sponsoring thought-provoking research such as this, we gain a better understanding of how housing, transportation, and our region’s economy are interlinked.

This report should be taken as a call to action: it’s time to address the large toll our city’s high cost of living has taken on our residents and businesses, and the threat it poses to our economy overall.

To read the full report, click here.